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Golden Week Holiday Still Welcomed in China

More than half of Chinese people consider the Golden Week holiday favorable rather than a time of stress, a top tourism official acknowledged Thursday.

"The Golden Week holiday not only helps boost the country's domestic consumption and economy, but promotes awareness of going out and enjoying life," said Wang Zhifa, deputy director of the China National Tourism Administration in an interview with Xinhua.

Tourists during the National Day in 2005 rose 10.5 percent year on year to 111 million, and the total income reached 46.3 billion yuan (US$5.79 billion), up 16.6 percent over 2004, statistics from the administration show.

However, complaints about overcrowding, poor service and a scarcity of hotel rooms spurred debate over whether or not the weeklong holiday is justified, Wang said.

The government established a special organization to solve the issues to ensure that people enjoyed the holiday, Wang said.

More than 45 percent of people believed the tourism environment during the Golden Week had been much improved and about 40 percent believed it was the same, according to a survey by CCTV, China's national TV station last year.

The government would do further research and solicit public opinion to improve the Golden Week holiday system, Wang said.

China adopted the three annual Golden Weeks of the Lunar New Year (Spring Festival), Labour Day (May 1-7), and the country's National Day (October 1-7) in 1999.

As the Mid-autumn Day, China's traditional festival for family reunions falls on October 6 this year, some people could extend their holiday, Wang said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2006)

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